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; Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art 

CRUCIFIXION. A SMALL PANEL IN TEMPERA ON WOOD. BY PESELLINO 




SHIMMERING TREE SHADOWS. BY GARDNER SYMONS 



Courtesy Albright Art Gallery' 



Art Acquisitions in American Museums . f 




JHE room devoted to recent 
accessions at the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art, New York, 
contains a Florentine 15th Cen-' 
tury painting (tempera on wood, height 
i6>£ inches, width 11^ inches), attrib- 
uted to Pesellino, or Pesello the younger, 
who was born in 1423, probably, and 
died in 1457. This is the Pesellino of 
whom Vasari wrote that he imitated 
the manner of Fra Filippo with infinite 
zeal, and indeed "so closely imitated 
the manner of Fra Filippo that he would, 



without doubt, have surpassed that mas- 
ter had not death so prematurely taken 
him from us. " But I hold that his 
painting shows the influence of Fra 
Angelico rather than that of Fra Filippo 
Strikingly reminiscent of the central 
portion of Fra Angelico' s Crucifixion in 
the Altman Collection, for example, are 
the figure and atitude, the dress and hair 
of the kneeling Magdalene in this Cruci- 
fixion by Pesellino; the same observa- 
tion applying with even greater force 
to the depiction of the wounded feet 



171 



172 



ART fc? LIFE 



of the Crucified and to the significant 
inclination of His head. The influence 
of Fra Angelico is also apparent in the 
landscape background, and the handling 
of this feature prove beyond all question 
that the secret of the representation 
of distance had not been fully mastered 
by the artist at the time when this 
panel was painted. Thus, a cypress 
tree of a size suited to the middle dis- 
tance is planted on one of the distant 
blue-green mountains, at the extreme 
right. The lesson of Fra Angelico's 
greater experience and his example had 
been studied appreciatively, but he, Pesel- 
lino, is still, we see, like the young scholar 
who recites imperfectly. We have here, 
then, a most interesting work of the 
artist's immaturity and of that highly 
important period of transition during 
which a few masters were for the first 
time giving to their works the quality 
of depth by the innovating device of 
background landscape and aerial per- 
spective. Pleasing contrasts are offered 
in this example by the outspoken colors, 



firm lines and geometric plan of the 
foreground, where the robes are of deep 
blues and vivid reds — the latter clearly 
from the Fiesole palette — and the halos 
and the nimbus are of ancient gold. 

The Albright Art Gallery of Buffalo 
has acquired by purchase the Shim- 
mering Tree Shadows, by Gardner 
Symons, to which was awarded the 
second Altman Prize, National Academy 
of Design, 191 9. This is a canvas which 
makes (for the benefit of all) permanent 
record of an essentially individual obser- 
vation, of one of those things which 
at rare intervals are revealed to artists 
and other persons whose artistic percep- 
tion has been trained by the study and 
criticism of art. If one asks, " Is it diffi- 
cult to paint such uncommon phases?" 
the answer is simply this: They may 
be painted — yes, just as Mathew Arnold's 
"tasks in hours of insight willed" may 
be fulfilled. The difficulty is about the 
same, perhaps neither greater nor less 
in the one matter than in the other. 
Mr. Symons, who is said to paint en- 




THE BLUE GOWN. BY FREDERICK C. FRIESEKE 



Courtesy Detroit Museum of Art 



ART ACQUISITIONS IN AMERICAN MUSEUMS 



173 




IN THE COUNTRY. BY LEON KROLL 



Courtesy Detroit Museum of Art 



tirely out-of-doors, has, for that reason 
special aptitude for noting the rarer 
manifestations in the open and special 
facility in depicting them. A number 
of his best paintings have been snow 
scenes, and as a snow-painter his rank 
is exceptionally high. There is vitality 
in Mr. Symons' color and in the repre- 
sentation of distances, must, in this 
picture, again receive praise for what 
has been called his sense of far-reaching 
depth and the gradation of values. The 
Art Institute, Chicago, owns his Winter 
Sun; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Wash- 
ington, his Snow Clouds, and the Metro- 
politan Museum of Art, New York, his 
Opalescent River. 



Recently acquired by the Detroit Mu- 
seum of Art are characteristic works by 
Leon Kroll and Frederick Carl Frieseke. 
Mr. Kroll* s In the Country, which was 
exhibited in the Knoedler Galleries some 
time ago, gave almost the same pleasure 
that would be derived by the actual 
viewing, were this possible, of a rural 
scene in the heart of the city, or by an 
interpolated country mood during the 
day's preoccupations in town. Mr. 
Frieseke's The Blue Gown, recalls, of 
course, this brilliant Franco-American's 
earlier study of well-and-amply-dressed 
recumbency, the Lady on a Gold Couch. 
This does not mark, however, a tendency 
toward repetition; for who has chosen 




Courtesy The Cleveland Museum of Art 



PORTRAIT OF MASTER SAMUEL BARBER CLARK. BY JAMES FROTHINGHAM 




PORTRAIT OF CHARLES APTHORP. BY ROBERT FEKE 



176 



ART 6? LIFE 




Courtesy The Cleveland Museum of Art 



FLEMISH TAPESTRY, EARLY SIXTEENTH CENTURY, DEPICTING A SCENE FROM THE LIFE OF THE EMPEROR 

CHARLES V 



with cleverer range of fancy among 
happy — even perfumed — themes? 

Among recent acquisitions by the 
Cleveland Museum of Art is James 
Frothingham's Portrait of Master Samuel 
Barber Clark, painted about 1810 
(a panel twenty -five by twenty and 
one-half inches in size, a portrait which 
shows clearly, in the opinion of those 
who have examined it with closest 
attention, the good influence of the 
methods of Gilbert Stuart), and Robert 
Feke's Portrait of Charles Apthorp, signed 



R. F. and dated 1748. A third notable 
art work acquired by the Cleveland 
Museum is an early Sixteenth century 
tapestry after the style of Bernard van 
Orley and is undoubtedly of Flemish 
manufacture. The subject of the tapes- 
try is one from the cycle that centers 
around the life of the Emperor Charles 
V. In this the Emperor is shown send- 
ing a messenger from his monastic re- 
treat, after his abdication of the throne, 
to his young son the new Emperor 
Philip II.